Hemai Parthasarathy is the Scientific Director of Breakout Labs and the Thiel Foundation. She is responsible for establishing the scientific priorities of the program and evaluating the technical merits of submitted proposals. Hemai brings a deep commitment to scientific innovation and communication to Breakout Labs. She has served as the North American Editor for Nature and was a founding editor of PLOS, the open-access publisher of PLOS ONE. Before joining the Thiel Foundation, she advised research institutes, non-profits, and biotechnology companies on the development and communication of their scientific portfolios. She holds a Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Founded by the Thiel Foundation in November 2011, Breakout Labs uses philanthropy to support a growing list of early-stage companies in areas ranging from food science and biomedicine to clean energy. For many of these companies, we were the first external investor.
The program provides up to $350,000 for companies to achieve specific milestones that are critical to their development. In addition to the funding, our grant recipients benefit directly from the Thiel Foundation’s large community of investors, innovators, and entrepreneurs.